Trying to lose weight? Doing “traditional cardio” may not be the best approach.
To be clear, if you’re completely sedentary, traditional cardio can be hugely beneficial and will improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and lipid profile; however, studies show that the benefits of traditional cardiovascular exercise for weight loss are modest at best. Traditional cardio is any workout where you are moving steadily at a slow or moderate pace the entire time. A high-quality review of forty-three studies on exercise concluded that the weight loss from traditional cardio averaged a grand total of about two pounds; they did note that higher intensity exercise was associated with more weight loss.
Of course, exercise is hugely beneficial for health. For example, exercise can literally change the structure of your brain by increasing the size of your hippocampus, which is important for stress management, memory and mood. Exercise can also help lower blood sugar and fasting insulin levels, reduce blood pressure, raise levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, improve sleep, and increase your energy.
But traditional cardio may not be the best form of exercise. Besides not being great for weight loss, we tend to do the same cardio workout every time, and the body adapts to this and stops getting as much benefit from the workouts. Another reason why traditional cardio is less effective for weight loss is that people may tend to consume more food after workouts due to increased appetite. So what do I recommend instead of traditional cardio workouts? Exercising the way your Paleolithic ancestors did—learning to move this way can lead to dramatic improvements in your health and vitality. In the next post we will talk about this method in detail…